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The Behaviorist Approach in the Study of Politics

Updated on April 30, 2012
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Christopher F. Bueno is currently the Dean of the College of Education, University of Northern Philippines, Vigan City.

In 1960, the political scientists had to study the shortcomings in the historical/traditional approach in the study of politics to correct and understand the misconceptions to apply only the historical perspective without considering the individual and collective behavior in the development of political institutions.

These are the considerations as to the application of behaviorist approach in politics:

The application of behaviorist approach utilizes the empirical investigation of social facts and phenomena to consider the political actions and activities of government officials.The behavioral perspective about this psychological analysis focuses more on the ability to persuade and influence the sovereign electorate to sustain the political performance as the basis on the renewal of elective term in government positions.

a) This approach concerns more on the empirical and scientific study of political behaviors in the society.

The scientific investigation of social facts has been the best way to study the development problems and strategic direction of the application of politics. The qualitative and quantitative methods of social research provides political data and information in the governmental administration and management of the state. The researchable areas in politics based on behaviorist approach are the following:

1. The voters’ political preference. The behavioral response of the voters along the political platforms presentation of the candidates as to the real acceptability in the society.

2. The governmental revenue and social services programs. The assessment of the society impact as to the revenue generation and its public response as to the legislative approval of revenue and the utilization to the social services for common welfare.

3. The public officials’ performance on the development programs. The respondents evaluate the performance of public officials as to the actual development projects implemented. This is the basis of behavioral and social assessment of the respondents to suggest the re-election of public officials.

4. The research survey as to the popularity rating of government officials. The national survey as to the popularity rating in the political variables on implementation development projects, the advocacy of graft and corruption, the administration of social justice and common welfare to the society.

5. The voters’ index of satisfaction of government officials. This the political monitoring by the NGO and other political survey institution to analyze a survey questionnaire (behavioral response on the voters’ index) as to the satisfaction rating of government officials.

6. The political information about corruption cases, bribery, and extortion. The media publication and social impact assessment of certain government activities of political party as to the presence of political corruption in the administration of the state.

7. The alternative and traditional politicians. The comparative analysis as to the performance in administering the social and economic services of the government by the alternative and traditional politicians.

8. The political activism and pressure groups. The continuing political struggle of the activists and pressure groups to do political reforms on social equality, human freedom and the exploitation of the masses.

9. The media participation in politics. The role of media in exposing the true image of politics, and the political vigilance to expose the real truth in politics.

10.The assessment on the behavioral role of government officials in the implementation of social and economic services programs. The social and behavioral analysis in the political perspective of influence and persuasion as to the real outcome social economic service programs.

b) The application of the social phenomenology to understand better the political phenomena relative to the development of the governmental systems, processes and structure.

The social phenomenology discusses the political activities of government officials to address the major social problems in the society. The social concerns provide the better understanding as how to address the problem of the urban poor; poverty, crimes, drug addiction,and prostitution . It must also address the ethical and moral issues about the political corruption and patronage politics in the society.

1. The social problems on governance to the urban poor as to the issues and concerns about prostitution, crimes, drugs, and other related consequences of underdevelopment.

2. The patronage politics and culture-based politics of the underserved and depressed communities.

3. The ethical and moral issues on political bribery, extortion and corruption in the society.

4. The political exploitation of the masses through bribery as consequence of electoral fraud in response to cultural reciprocity.

5. The political phenomenon in politics relating to patronage politics, culture-based power control, PR media initiative on the politics of corruption,

c) The formulation of hypothesis and generalization of facts on observable behavior of the political interaction of the society. The observable political and social facts in the alternative form of hypothesis:

1. The influence of social stratification of the elite class in the control of power and influence in the government. The qualitative research pertaining to the participation of the elite class in politics as they have enough money to support during election time. The political influence and power controlled in their term as elective officials in government. This observable phenomenon that the wealthy and elite class controlled all the political influence and power in government.

2. The patronage politics as the main tool of political power play for the exploitation of the masses (poor). The social reciprocity mechanism that the poor has been exploited by the politicians by way of bribery, giving favors, and providing economic support that may influence them to support during election period. The sovereign electorate particularly the poor has able to surrender their sovereign rights to elect politicians in order to protect their political, social, economic and personal interest for common good in the society.

3. The entertainment industry and media as a primary tool to influence the political perception of the voters. The media and entertainment industry has been the main political tool by PR Managers for the politicians to become very popular to the people so that they will be elected again for public office. Although the media influence has political impact as exposing the bad image of the politicians may have the tendency not to be elected in the office. Likewise, the media very keen about the political issues of graft and corruption, extortion and bribery, illegal gambling and prostitution. The politicians remain adamant to these problems as they are secretly participating to get more wealth and sustain the needs during election time particularly in the less developed countries in Asia and Africa.

4. The relationship of the low level of income on the socio-demographic profile affects the voters’ perception as to the performance of politicians in bribery, extortion and party affiliation. The state of being poor has the relationship as to the perception and opinion in supporting the traditional politicians. The main concern of the poor is to get additional income in any political forms as the basic needs necessitates them to perform electoral fraud such as receiving gifts and temporary employment, bribery and extortion in support of political candidates, and other economic means to ensure for their everyday survival in the society.

The social phenomena of politics may take this topic entitled "THE CONTEMPORARY REPUBLIC” along the behaviorist and scientific approach in the study of political phenomena in modern time:

It describes the social reality of life experiences to synthesize new political thought that responds to the need of the contemporary time. There are hidden answers in the “The Contemporary Republic” in that provides to the perennial solution on problems about poverty, exploitation of the masses, corruption ,and spiritual crisis in the development of political order of the society.


These are the related SAVIOR ON HUBPAGES- FREE ACADEMIC ARTICLES AND RESEARCHES in POLITICAL SCIENCE for the COLLEGE STUDENTS to facilitate in doing their homework, assignment and research activities in the school particularly those impoverished countries of AFRICA, ASIA and MIDDLE EAST.

Definition of State

Elements of State

Origin of State

The Forms of Government

The General Concepts and Principles of Government

Constitution : The Fundamental Law of the State and Government

Definition and Importance of Political Science

Political Science and Law

The General Meaning and Concept in Politics

The Behaviorist Approach in the Study of Politics

The Historical Approach in the Study of Politics

Politics : The Power and Authority Structure in Public Service

Origin of Political Science

Political Science and Its Relationships with Social Sciences

The Introductory Analysis of the "Republic by Plato"

The Modern Concepts and Principles of Political Science :The Development Dimensions of the “Contemporary Republic”


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    • profile image

      Marlene 21 months ago

      Dear Dr. Fuster Bueno,

      I'm currently writing my bachelor thesis and would like to apply behavioralism as a theoretical framework. I'm looking for categories (that I can analyze in my paper) like the 10 researchable areas you identified under point a). In order to use them I would need an academic source. Do you know of any?

      Thanks a lot in advance!



    • profile image 2 years ago

      Thanks Prof. Awesome exposition